Next SMBC president 1st to come from former Mitsui Bank

Akihiro Fukutome

Japanese megabank Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. will make its first leadership change in six years.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group decided Thursday to promote Akihiro Fukutome, a 59-year-old senior managing executive officer of SMBC, to president of the bank from April 1, 2023. Effectively immediately, he has become a director to go alongside his role as senior managing executive officer.

Fukutome, a co-head of the global banking unit, has extensive experience working in overseas and corporate banking divisions. He has overseen North America and other areas in the international division and had been responsible for the establishment of an online bank in the United States. He has also served as president of Toyota Motor Corp.’s financial subsidiary, Toyota Financial Services Corp.

SMBC is likely aiming to aggressively develop its overseas business.

Since SMBC was formed in 2001 through the merger of Sumitomo Bank and Sakura Bank, which descended from the former Mitsui Bank, the post of president has been held by employees from Sumitomo Bank. Fukutome, however, will be the first president from Mitsui Bank.

The current president, 64-year-old Makoto Takashima, will become the bank’s chairman of the board, replacing Takeshi Kunibe, who is retiring from the bank but will remain the group’s board chairman. These moves also take effect on April 1, 2023.